Google has just announced a brand new line of laptops that are launching this week. The portable PCs will be called Chromebook Plus.
The big takeaways from The Big G’s new series of laptops? Eight initial Chromebook Plus models will launch on October 8 in the US, while they’ll launch a day later in Canada and Europe. These Chromebooks span different manufacturers (including Acer, Asus and HP), but all contain the same starting specs. Said specs include an Intel Core i3 12th Gen CPU or an AMD Ryzen 3 7000 series processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
These starting components can obviously be upgraded for more expensive configurations, yet all of these new Chromebooks will ship with 1080p IPS displays. What? You were expecting an OLED screen for devices that start at $399?
Chromebook Plus: Raising the bar for video calls
These innards are topped off by a 1080p+ webcam that features ‘Temporal Noise Reduction’. And this feature actually sounds pretty exciting… well, at least as exciting as webcam features can.
In its press release for the Chromebook Plus lineup, the company promises “these powerful new Chromebooks have built-in AI to help enhance your call’s clarity and lighting, cancel background noise and blur backgrounds with just a couple of taps.”
According to Google, these features work regardless of what video conferencing app you’re using, be it Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or Skype. To use the lighting and blur features mentioned above, Chromebook Plus owners will be able to access them from their laptop’s app shelf. The latest series of Chromebooks sound like they could have some of the best webcams around.
Chromebook Plus key new features
The new Chromebook Plus devices also benefit from additional OS and software features, such as Google Photos Magic Eraser for the built-in Google Photos app and Offline File Sync — the latter means you’ll be able to access and edit your Google Docs files, even if your connection is down.
These features will only expand post-launch, as Chromebook Plus models will eventually benefit from an AI-assisted writing assistant (accessed with a right click) and custom generated wallpapers that are built from templatized text prompts. The example Google provided us? ‘Cats in the style of van Gogh’. So if you’re a fan of tabbies and one-eared artists combining, Google has you covered.
Chromebook Plus freebies
If you need to edit images to a professional level for work, you’ll also be pleased to hear the Chromebook Plus lineup gives users a free 3-month subscription to Adobe Photoshop.
And the news is similarly good for games, as they’ll be treated to a 3-month subscription to GeForce Now’s Priority tier. That’s obviously nowhere near as impressive as the Nvidia GeForce cloud-powered RTX 4080 you get with GeForce Now Ultimate. Yet it should still let you stream some of the best Steam games and best titles on Xbox Game Pass at a decent level.
So if you’re in the market for one of the best Chromebooks that sounds like it could potentially feature one of the best webcams in a budget-friendly laptop, the Chromebook Plus might be about to become your new best friend.